|NASCAR on NBC|
The fourth and current NASCAR on NBC network TV logo, used on-air since July 1, 2017
|Genre||Auto racing telecasts|
|Presented by||Rick Allen|
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
(for other reporters and former staff, see announcers section below)
|Theme music composer||Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield|
& Lars Ulrich (2001-2003)
Jess Leary & Anthony Smith (2015-2017)
Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Mike Campbell (2018-2019)
|Opening theme||"Fuel" by Metallica (2001-2003)|
"Bringing Back the Sunshine" by Blake Shelton (2015-2017)
"Runnin' Down a Dream" by Tom Petty performed by ZZ Ward (2018-2019)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|Production location(s)||Various NASCAR racetracks (race telecasts, and pre-race shows)|
NBC Sports, Stamford, Connecticut (studio segments)
NBC Studios, New York City, New York (studio segments)
|Running time||Pre-race: 30 minutes to 1 hour|
Race: 2.5 to 5 hours (depending on race length)
|Original network||NBC (1979-81, 1983-85, 1999-2006, 2015-present)|
USA Network (2016)
NBC Sports app & NBC Sports Regional Networks (2015-present, practice and qualifying coverage)
TNT (2001-2006) with Turner Sports Graphics
Speed (2002-2006) with Speed Graphics
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)(4:3 (1999-2004)) (16:9 2004),|
1080i (HDTV) (16:9) (2004 Daytona 500, 2005-present)
|Preceded by||NASCAR on CBS |
NASCAR on TNT
NASCAR on ABC
NASCAR on ESPN (shared with Fox NASCAR until 2006)
|Related shows||NASCAR on TNT |
IndyCar Series on NBC
NASCAR on NBC (visually branded as NBC NASCAR in logos shown within on-air graphics and network promotions) is the branding used for broadcasts of NASCAR races that are produced by NBC Sports, and televised on several NBCUniversal-owned television networks, including the NBC broadcast network in the United States. The network originally aired races, typically during the second half of the season, from 1999 to 2006.
On July 23, 2013, NBC signed a new agreement with NASCAR to obtain the rights to races from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, ARCA Menards Series East, ARCA Menards Series West and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour seasons starting in 2015. In addition, NBC Universal also gained the rights to the NASCAR Toyota Series starting in 2014, airing on its Spanish-language network channels initially for selected races, with NBC obtaining Spanish-language rights to all NASCAR series starting in 2015.
Prior to the original 1999 contract between NASCAR and NBC, the network aired races such as the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway from 1979 to 1981, the 1981 Mountain Dew 500 at Pocono International Raceway, the Winston 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway from 1983 to 1985, and the Miami 300 and Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in both 1999 and 2000.
On November 11, 1999, NASCAR signed a five-year, US$2.48 billion contract which split the American television rights for NASCAR races between Fox, its cable partner FX, NBC and Turner Sports. The contract began in 2001 and went as follows.
As 2001 began, however, Turner Sports decided to make a change to its broadcast arrangement. At the time, Turner Broadcasting was in the midst of a format change for its cable channel TNT that was to make it a drama-centric network. To keep with the branding the network took on, "We Know Drama", Turner Sports decided to make TNT be NBC's cable partner and end the seventeen-year relationship TBS had with NASCAR.
Some of the regular features of NBC's race coverage were:
During the broadcasts' opening sequence later in the run of the initial contract, a driver can be heard shouting over his radio, "Good job guys, good job." The audio for this clip was taken from Rusty Wallace after his win during the spring 2004 race at Martinsville Speedway.
The Metallica song "Fuel" was used as the theme song for NBC and TNT's NASCAR broadcasts from mid-2001 to the 2003 season, and was also used for the 2004 Daytona 500 (which aired on NBC), with the song's instrumental backing used as background music and commercial bumpers. However, for part of the 2001 season, the opening scream used in the opening was removed because of its close association with terrorists in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The pre-release version of the song entitled "Fuel For Fire" (with different lyrics) was released as part of the NASCAR Full Throttle CD.
Some fans reacted negatively to NBC's coverage, claiming that it was largely inferior to Fox in terms of both technological capabilities and bland commentators. Wally Dallenbach and Bill Weber were viewed as monotonous and boring in their delivery, compared to Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip. Statistically after its first season, Fox race telecasts had more viewers than those on NBC during 2001.
NBC was also criticized by fans for incorporating long commercial breaks during the race, much longer than the breaks that Fox would run during its race telecasts. Two glaring problems with the NBC coverage were that restarts were often missed due to these extended commercial breaks, that breaks during green flag runs were too frequent. Fans and media columnists used "Nothing But Commercials," as a jocular acronym for NBC's coverage. This cliché was mocked in the film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, during a scene in which NBC is shown to take a quick commercial break during a race (with a commercial for Applebee's) when Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) and Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) wreck their cars in a very long-lasting crash (NBC's announcing team at the time of Weber, Dallenbach and Parsons had cameos during the scene covering the fictional race).
By 2004, however, NBC had made substantial improvements in regards to both technology and commentating. Although NASCAR and NBC ended their partnership after the 2006 season, many fans hoped that they could reunite in the next television contract in spite of problems with partners ESPN and TNT.
In October 2005, NBC announced that it might not renew its contract end of the NASCAR contract after the 2006 season, largely because of its acquisition of the Sunday Night Football telecast from ESPN.
The restructured broadcast deal awarded Fox the rights to the Daytona 500 from 2007 until 2014. The contract also allowed ESPN and ABC to regain NASCAR rights, taking the second half of the season's races; meanwhile, TNT retained its broadcast rights and signed a contract to air six mid-season races. The ESPN family of networks became the exclusive home of the NASCAR Busch/Nationwide Series as part of the contract, replacing TNT, NBC, Fox and FX as broadcasters.
As the NFL and NASCAR contracts overlapped during the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup, some of NBC's post-race shows were moved to CNBC in order to allow the broadcast network's NFL pre-game show Football Night in America to start on time.
On July 23, 2013, NASCAR announced a nine-year contract with NBC Sports to broadcast the final 20 races of the NASCAR Cup Series season (from the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway through the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead from 2015 to 2017; in 2018 and 2019, NBC's coverage started at Chicagoland and ended at Homestead and in 2020 starts in Chicagoland and ends at Phoenix), the final 19 races of the Xfinity Series season, along with coverage of select regional series events and the NASCAR Mexico Series, succeeding both former partners TNT and ESPN. The deal also awarded NBC Sports the rights to provide coverage on digital platforms, rights to Spanish-language coverage for Telemundo and mun2 (now Universo), broadcast rights to the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and post-season awards banquets. The deal runs from 2015 to 2024, although the Mexico Series race at Phoenix International Raceway began in 2014.
The majority of NBC's NASCAR coverage under the new contract will air on NBCSN, however seven races will be broadcast by the NBC broadcast network; in 2015 and 2016, they were the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington, the Chase races at Charlotte and Kansas, and the last three races (Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami) consecutively.
NBC Sports took over the portion of the contract previously held by ESPN and Turner Sports. While financial details were not disclosed, NBC reportedly paid 50% more than the $2.7 billion paid by ESPN and Turner combined under the previous contract.
Former Turner Sports executive Jeff Behnke serves as vice president of NASCAR programming for NBC Sports.
NBC began to lead into its new contract in February 2014 with the premiere of a nightly news and analysis program, NASCAR America, on NBCSN, and a broadcast of the Toyota 120 from Phoenix International Raceway - the opening event of the 2014 season of the NASCAR Toyota Series, on mun2.
The first U.S.-series race under the contract was The Hart to Heart Breast Cancer Foundation 150--the first race of the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season--at New Smyrna Speedway, and was aired on February 19 on NBCSN.
During Summer Olympic years (three during the contract, in 2016, 2020, and 2024), NBC will assign different NBCUniversal channels to air races as a result of scheduling conflicts. For 2016, CNBC (used for English Premier League, IndyCar, and Formula One for NBCSN conflicts) carried Sprint Cup and Xfinity qualifying along with one Xfinity race, and USA Network (which will also be used for Premier League conflicts) carried two Xfinity and one Sprint Cup race. In 2020, the Cup Series will take two weeks off to minimize any conflict with the Olympics; the Michigan race will be run on the day of the Games' closing ceremony. The two Xfinity Series races that will take place during the Games (at Iowa and Road America) will air on CNBC. If a NASCAR race is postponed to Monday and it conflicts with an English Premier League match, the race will move to USA (CNBC is also unavailable on weekdays due to its stock market coverage), though this has not happened yet as of the end of the 2019 season.
On December 4, 2013, Rick Allen, who previously worked at Fox Sports as an announcer for its Camping World Truck Series coverage, signed a multi-year contract to serve as the lead announcer for NBC's race broadcasts.
On January 9, 2014, it was confirmed that Steve Letarte would leave his role as Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports and join NBC Sports as a color analyst. Behnke explained that the on-air makeup of NBC Sports' broadcasts would have "a relevancy that hasn't been seen in a long, long time", citing the recent involvements of both Burton and Letarte in NASCAR prior to their move to broadcasting.
Leigh Diffey, lead announcer for NBC's IndyCar coverage, announced via Twitter he would be commentating at some Xfinity races for NBC. Additionally, Diffey would be lead announcer for the Cup races at Watkins Glen & Michigan in 2017.
The pit reporters for 2018 consisted of Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Parker Kligerman (who replaced Mike Massaro following the 2016 season), and Ralph Sheheen, Burns and Snider were with NBC's original NASCAR pit crew, while Massaro joins from ESPN's NASCAR team and Stavast from the network's sports car coverage. The pre-race show was hosted by former Fox reporter Krista Voda along with former ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett, former TNT analyst Kyle Petty, and Top Gear host Rutledge Wood.
On September 1, 2015, it was announced that Ken Squier and Ned Jarrett would commentate a portion of the 2015 Bojangles' Southern 500 along with current NASCAR on NBC commentator Dale Jarrett. Squier was also in the broadcast booth for Sprint Cup Series final practice. This has become a standard tradition at the Southern 500, due to NASCAR designating the race as a throwback weekend where teams bring retro paint schemes to the track.
On September 11, 2015, it was announced that Carl Edwards would be in the NBCSN broadcast booth as a guest analyst for the Xfinity race at Richmond alongside Dale Jarrett and Diffey.Jamie McMurray was a guest analyst for the NXS race at Chicagoland.
In November 2017, it was announced that Bob Costas would co-anchor NBC's pre-race coverage leading into the NASCAR Cup Series finale from Homestead. alongside Krista Voda, Similarly, in the 2018 Cup race at Daytona, NBC's Mike Tirico appeared on the pre-race show.
In July 2019, it was announced that Danielle Trotta will join NBC Sports' NASCAR coverage as host of the "Victory Lap" post-race show for select Cup Series races this year.
On February 27, 2020, it was announced that James Hinchcliffe will join the NASCAR on NBC broadcast team for the upcoming 2020 season
While Fox Sports innovated the practice of using the team's number fonts (such as the Petty #43 or Jeff Gordon's #24) in their on-screen graphics, NBC took the next step by using these fonts in the running order graphic at the top of the screen, starting with the 2001 Pepsi 400. This was only used for Winston Cup broadcasts on NBC, while TNT races and all Busch Series races (regardless of network) used a generic font with a blue background. This practice was dropped after the inaugural race at Kansas, and starting at Charlotte all Winston Cup broadcasts used a generic font in the running order with a limited number of background colors to roughly correspond with the car. The accurate colors and fonts returned when NBC's coverage resumed in 2015, and by then this had become common practice for most TV networks for major auto racing series.
In 2017, a new secondary leaderboard graphic was introduced and is displayed vertically on the left side of the screen, essentially the same thing as the graphic introduced in Fox's coverage earlier that year. However, unlike with Fox, NBC only used this leaderboard during portions of the race depending on the camera angles and picture or if they wanted to show more of the field on the leaderboard (up to 20 cars) at a time (with the leaderboard on the top of the screen, NBC only shows four cars at a time), whereas Fox used it for the entire race regardless of camera angles and picture.
From 2015-17, the intro for the revived run of NASCAR on NBC was "Bringing Back the Sunshine" performed by country music artist Blake Shelton, who is also one of the coaches on NBC's own prime time hit show, The Voice. NBC introduced a new opening for their coverage starting in 2018, using a cover version of the Tom Petty song "Runnin' Down a Dream", done by ZZ Ward.